Theater


By Donald Illich

I stab you with a sword, you swoon to the ground.
You grab me, threatening me.  I break into tears.

I go on and on with my speech without interruption.
You curse the gods, stars, fate, that villain, your life.

I return home with bad news, and you start laughing.
You act as if a ghost is directing your every move.

I play a prank on my friends, enemies, the king, Toad.
You dance with an invisible partner, kissing her lips.

I am persuaded to commit murder to achieve power.
You are hanged by the neck for theft, greed, cowardice.

I somehow see the audience, start talking to them.
You don't understand why I am speaking to thin air.

I leap into the crowd, ask them to take me with them.
You call it witchcraft. You can't get off this stage.


Donald Illich has published poetry in journals such as The Iowa Review, LIT, Rattle, and Sixth Finch.  He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times. He lives in Rockville, MD.